Thursday, March 31, 2016

From Zanzibar to Barclay Square

I had a minor pop culture meltdown earlier today.

Sadly, Patty Duke passed away recently. Any time I am confronted with such sad news, I tend to do what normal people do, which is make a slightly tasteless joke on twitter about their passing.

My downfall, though, was that I didn't know all that much about Patty Duke aside from the fact that she had a sitcom in the 60s about having a twin. I mean, I watched the show when I was a kid, but me being a kid involves a world where the Soviet Union was still a thing. It's, uh, been a while. So all I had were fuzzy black-and-white memories of something that might have been about a mildly attractive girl who had a lookalike with a different accent and some rudimentary camera tricks that would make the crew of Bewitched shake their heads in shame.

So my lame-ass joke boiled down to something like "Has anyone told Patty Duke's twin the sad news?"

I was promptly told by my friend Dana that--well, her response was simply "cousins." For a moment I was confused, but then I got it--did Patty Duke play not lookalike sisters but cousins? That can't be the case--that's genetically impossible! That's insane! Maybe we were just wrong.

After extensive research by spending ten seconds looking it up on wikipedia--whoops, it looks like she was right. Patty Duke had a twin cousin!

That is stupid. Even by the 1960's-talking-horse-sitcom standards, identical cousins is a stupid, stupid idea. The Patty Duke Show was built on a foundation of sand and lies!

The biggest shame--the theme song! I don't remember the theme song, but apparently when I was a kid I blacked out every time the theme song came on the TV. The lyrics go roughly like this:

Cousins!
They're identical Cousins!
Cousins!
Seriously, we can't emphasize enough
They aren't twin sisters but
Cousins!
Hey dumbass!
They're COUSINS!
(doo doo de do)

And of course following the rules of the early days of television, the theme song was repeated enough times that even the slowest of viewers would get a hint of what was going on. 

Now, growing up, old sitcoms were my bread and butter; not having cable will do that do you. So when I am challenged in my knowledge of nostalgic old sitcoms, I get defensive and cranky. I can tell you who the deputy was after Barney Fife (Warren) and I can tell you that Jeannie used to flutter her eyes before the more iconic folded-arms-and-nod to activate her powers, but I'll be damned if I let some improbable genetic mutation sully my memories.

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